May 13, 2007

Mousetrap - 102

How to how to
instructables
At it’s basic level, it’s pretty simple; members post step by step instructions on how to do things. All manner of things: food, home improvement gadgets, vehicles (a wheelchair for crippled dachshunds is one famous item here), things that work through USB ports, and one particularly rivetting section labelled “not liable.” Of course some stuff is more useful or smarter than others. And yes, some of it is, um, weird. Never mind. This is where it gets really interesting, as community members comment, advise, suggest, critique and brainstorm. I’m no tinkerer—I prefer to think of myself as the cerebral type—but I find it all fascinating. If you’re less all-thumbs than I am, you could find yourself with a heckuva lot of projects to do here. It’s creativity, collaboration and practicality, and an object lesson in the power of the web.

Not kidding
Lets Fight Child Labour!
This site was sent in by its creator; now that’s a category I confess I approach with some scepticism after some fairly loony self-promoting emails. The letter had a certain juvenile exuberance to it. For good reasons, it turns out. Because the blogger is fourteen. Her sense of design is a bit too enthusiastic—her use of fonts and colours is positively eye-watering—and her exhortations to action are strident, but there’s a good cause here. She invites readers to send in opinions, suggestions, plans for action, and she will publish them. Go visit. Tell her I sent you hm?

Fasten your seatbelts
Airliners.net
If you’re at all fascinated by airlines, this is the site for you. Evidently a lot of people are; the site claims 300,000 visitors and three million page views a day. They is news, data on aircrafts, their history, and all manner articles, polls, chat and what-have-you, but the killer here is the photo section. There are over a million photos here, range from the documentary—shots of planes in flight, on the ground, taking off and landing. inside and outside—to the stunning. Things like clouds, contrails, the aurora, turbulence and, oh, just go see. There’s a cool search engine that lets you refine your search no end—want to see whether there are any shots of the last plane you flew? Type in the registration number in the Advanced Search. Or just go look at the most popular shots. There are over a million pictures to choose from.

Get the pitcher?
RateBeer
Ish nish shite thish. Hash lotsh of beersh from allovertheworld. People who know lotsh of impre.. , impersiv.. imp.. BIG words for taste and smell and colour and.. and.. shtuff like that, well, they join this site and they go around allovertheworld drinking beer and coming back to the .. wossname .. site and writing those .. wotisaid .. words so that other people who come there can deshi.. decide if they want to drink those shame beersh allovertheworld. And they have forumsh and magazines and events and they drink beer. Where was I?

Reader suggestions welcome, and will be acknowledged. Go to http://o3.indiatimes.com/mousetrap for past columns, and to comment, or mail inthemousetrap@indiatimes.com. The writer blogs at http://zigzackly.blogspot.com.

Published in the Times of India, Mumbai edition, 13th May, 2007.

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